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Building employability through learning and teaching: Laura Dean awarded

Laura Dean, a university teacher in work psychology at the Management School, has been awarded a university award for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching.

As one of 13 winners at the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences (TESS) awards, Laura was commended specifically for building students’ employability through classroom learning.

Nominated by the Management School’s Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, Dr Robert Wapshott, and Dr Carolyn Axtell, Laura’s work on devising mock assessment centres embedded in the curriculum of two modules.

Laura’s innovation sees MSc Occupational Psychology students design and deliver an assessment centre of the type final year undergraduate students may encounter as part of a job search – it has occupational relevance for the Masters students as many will begin their careers in such roles.

After organising activities, preparing paperwork and taking on administration for the day, they act as assessors for second-year undergraduates taking our module in Career Theory and Practice. The environment is made as realistic as possible so that both groups get to experience the pressure of an assessment centre and identify any things which may impede their performance in a real assessment situation.

Feedback has been very positive. MSc Occupational Psychology graduate (2016) Jack Cousins, currently working at Saville Consulting as a Consultant Analyst, said: “The opportunity to both design and run an assessment centre was crucial in deciding to pursue my current role.”

The undergraduates have the opportunity to practise being assessed and receive feedback on their performance which they find highly beneficial. 84 % said they agreed or strongly agreed this had helped them prepare for selection events, while 98 % agreed they were glad they had opportunity to take part.

As her prize for winning this award, Laura received a certificate and a £500 prize to support future learning and teaching.

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